Yesterday, our Russian cleaning lady entered the code at our front door and let herself in to the house, as she does twice a week. She put down her bag, and mounted the stairs to start the first load of laundry. As soon as she reached the top of the stairs, she froze in shock.
There were three centimeters of water covering the entire second floor. One of the water pipes had broken a few hours prior to her arrival, sending water gushing everywhere. The water was bursting out of the fissure like a geyser, spraying all the way to the ceiling from the pipe’s location near the floor. All of the carpets were soaked, some mattresses that had been on the floor were damp and the entire bathroom was in shambles.
Our cleaning lady called up my mother, completely hysterical. Her Hebrew is not great, but she only needed to know one word to report this situation. “Mayim! Mayim! Mayim!” she yelled through the phone. She felt helpless, not knowing how to turn off the water main with the entire house growing soggier by the minute. “Mayim! Mayim Mayim!”
She paused for a moment, and gathered herself. She took a deep breath, and remembered her daughters family in Kiryat Malachi and her grandson in the army. “Nu, its not such a big problem”, she told my mother calmly, “war is a big problem.”
War has many collateral effects, not all of which are negative. The experience of war infuses our mundane routines with a profound quality. We appreciate the little things, like a family dinner, in a way we hadn’t beforehand. This change of perspective makes the sunshine seem a little bit brighter, which is useful when you are trying to dry out a bunch of carpets.